A pioneer of early television has died. William Asher directed and wrote teleplays for some of the most popular small screen sitcoms in history. He also furthered the concept of the Beach Movie. He won an Emmy, and received a Directors Guild Award (DGA) nomination for his fine work.
Asher was part of Hollywood royalty. His father co-produced the original Dracula and Frankenstein for Universal. And, his sister was the publicist for Judy Garland during her stay at MGM. Even his mother did some acting.
After World War II, he received a contract by Harry Cohn to work at Columbia Studios. The mogul eventually assigned him to the fledgling television department. At CBS Studios, he wrote early programs for The Colgate Comedy Hour. This led to a fruitful career. He developed the television pilot for Our Miss Brooks. He adapted so well to comedy, he was given the chance to help re-work I Love Lucy into a hit sitcom. Asher wrote many episodes for Make Room for Daddy, December Bride, Gidget, The Patty Duke Show, and his personal favorite, Bewitched. Outside the comedy genre, he also directed and wrote episodes for The Twilight Zone, Alice, and The Dukes of Hazzard.
He had a knack for appealing to the younger generation. Asher wrote and directed a few of the popular beach movies starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon – Muscle Beach Party (1964), Bikini Beach (1964), and Beach Blanket Bingo (1965).
BILL ASHER / LIZ MONTGOMERY
William Asher became fast friends with John F. Kennedy. Together with Frank Sinatra, he planned the incoming president’s 1961 Inaugural. He married the daughter of actor Robert Montgomery, his headliner on Bewitched in 1963. His union with Elizabeth Montgomery lasted over a decade.
Considered by many in the industry as: the man who invented the sitcom, Asher received a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars - located at 100 North Palm Canyon Drive.
William Asher was 90.
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